Towards the end of a great trek, walking amidst the olive groves of the valley floor, visiting the Pieve Matildica di Diecimo and admiring the spectacular views from the hills of Aquilea towards the mountains and towards Lucca, a city with splendid walls, rich in tradition, culture, spirituality and home to the Volto Santo.
The last leg of the Via Matildica del Volto Santo is the most ‘anthropised’, i.e. where human activities are most present, both in the form of residential and craft/industrial centres. But there is no lack of great views and historical and spiritual monuments.
The entire leg is equipped with public transport, in particular the Aulla-Lucca railway with accessible stops a short distance away at Borgo a Mozzano, Diecimo and Ponte a Moriano.
Leave the village of Borgo a Mozzano and head to the south-east, towards the village cemetery and the recycling centre, where a short stretch of path begins that leads through the small pedestrian underpass beneath the railway. From here, a small road will lead you to cross the busy provincial road near the memorial stone commemorating the freedom struggle (pay the utmost attention when crossing!). You are now on the secondary road that passes by the sports facilities and continues straight towards the hamlet of Diecimo on dirt roads amidst the olive trees of the valley floor. At Diecimo, continue up towards the provincial road (watch out for the junction to the right just after the old football facilities) to reach the town centre with a further crossing (pedestrian crossing) over the provincial road.
In Diecimo, you can’t miss the ancient parish church of Santa Maria, built by Matilda di Canossa herself.
Leave Diecimo by crossing a road bridge (beware of vehicular traffic) and head towards the industrial area, crossing it entirely until you get to the turn for Valdottavo. You’ll travel along the busy provincial road alongside industrial warehouses. However, the roadside is very wide and in one stretch you can walk safely along an old parallel road. The point where you need to pay the most attention is the 300 m before the turn-off for Valdottavo. In 2020, this section was replaced by the reopening of the old cycle/pedestrian path upstream from the industrial plants.
When you reach Valdottavo, shortly afterwards, take the road on the left that goes up to San Donato/Domazzano.
At San Donato and its small church, the Via Matildica route turns right, while the old route of the Volto Santo path (and its blue signs) turns left towards Domazzano to descend to the provincial road at the bottom of the valley.
At San Donato, to carry on following the Via Matildica, shortly after turning right you’ll find a clearing (normally used as a timber deposit), from where a wide dirt road descends to the left (!). After about 1.5 km the road will take you near a dwelling where, at the junction, you should keep to the right, heading towards the woods on a dirt road.
Once out of the woods, continue to the right until you reach a small ford. Here begins the uphill stretch on an easy dirt road that will soon take you to the locality of A Bertolacci.
From here, following the small paved road with some uphill and downhill stretches, you’ll arrive at a first crossroads where you should keep to the left. Then, after about 1.5 km, at the junction with Via Colle di Orzala, near a small votive shrine, turn left.
Ahead of you, 2 km away with a panoramic route both towards Lucca and the mountains, is the village of Aquilea and from there the fast descent towards Ponte a Moriano. Here, cross the bridge over the Serchio and turn right to shortly reach the beginning of the cycle/pedestrian path that runs along the stream for about 10 km, almost until you are below the walls of Lucca, the coveted and beautiful final destination of the Via Matildica del Volto Santo.
Rest areas (water and food): the entire leg is abundant with public establishments and therefore you should not have any difficulties finding supplies.
Access to public transport: along the entire route you will find public transport stops that connect the towns that cross with Lucca with frequent daily services. Along the route there are also some railway stations on the Lucca-Aulla line (Diecimo, Ponte a Moriano).
Pharmacies: in the towns of Valdottavo and Ponte Moriano. And, of course, in Lucca.
In Lucca, the arrival leg, the accommodation offer is wide and can satisfy all the different needs and budgets available, both for single travellers, couples, small groups or large groups.
You can consult the booking portals to search for availability for the period you have chosen, even directly on Booking.
What to visit
- Anfiteatro square
- San Martino’s Cathedral
- Guinigi tower
- The walls
- Church of San Michele in Foro
- Basilica of San Frediano
- Palace Controni-Pfanner
Along the way:
- Romanesque church of Diecimo
- Church of San Donato
- San Leonardo al Castellaccio (Aquilea)